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WTF! Blog

Work The Future! Today is a blog about the art of the possible, practiced well in advance. We build trust, inspire belief, and create better tomorrows, today, for forward-facing clients and their communities. We do this through short-term innovation and long-term transformation initiatives guided by the North Star of shared purpose.

The Future of Work Isn't Working

Work The Future! (WTF!) vs. The Future of Work (FOW):

Are you going to design the future or is it going to design you? Your choice.

This is a long, important story made short and succinct. The way we have looked towards the future the past 150 years is woefully inadequate in the emerging post-industrial global political economy—what is happening to us all, right here and now. It has been a reactive mode of behavior.

That old story is gone. A new story is being born, which will require a proactive stance toward the future for individuals, businesses, and governments. We see it as a shift from the old “Future of (fill in the blank)” to a “Work The Future! Today” (WTF!) standpoint.

Backstory

What do Charles Handy, Charlie Grantham, Tom Malone, and Jacob Morgan have in common. They all wrote a book titled “The Future of Work”. Seems like every ten years or so someone feels the need to re-hash this topic.

Each had its unique focus. Handy on the evolution of large organizational forms. Grantham on the integration of IT/HR/Real Estate processes. Malone on the maturity of information systems. And most recently, Morgan on the need for organizations to adapt themselves to their employees. Each had a kernel of truth and was highly relevant at the time of publication. However, they all were reflections of what we call the OLD Story.

 

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How Culture Can Turn Your Work Space into a Place
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast and operations excellence for lunch and everything else for dinner“ ~ Bill Aulet, MIT 2013

Introduction

Many design articles call for “Engaging workplace design that doesn’t stop with a response to technological and real estate needs. It must go further, supporting the creation and integration of a company’s culture, brand identity, and overall community.”

We’ve taken up that challenge. We want to draw out the distinction between “space”, which is the physical part of the workplace, and “place”, the social aspects of a work environment.

Genesis of the concept

It all begins with “purpose”. What is the purpose of the workplace? What is the purpose of those who perform their work in that place? And how do those two relate to each other? It is our contention that we are currently experiencing a shift in cultural narrative/story from the “Old Story” to a new one.

The purpose of work and where it gets done is changing quickly. We are talking about purpose in the context of work, where many of us find our highest purpose. However, we live in an increasingly purposeless world filled with purposeless work. The Old Story and its attendant social institutions were designed to promote continuous growth. These institutions are no longer life affirming, nor supportive of personal well-being (integration of body, mind, and spirit), let alone human wholeness (integration of individuals into a greater whole).

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